Low-voltage cable technicians are electricians who specialize in installing or repairing low-voltage lines. These lines are typically used for telecommunications and may include telephone lines, cable television lines, fiber optic communications lines, and lines that carry signals for audio and video equipment. The U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that this occupation offers higher wages than many other occupations that don't require postsecondary education.
Entry-level requirements for low-voltage cable technicians typically include at least a high school diploma or educational equivalent, such as a General Educational Development certificate. Candidates for this occupation must have a sound knowledge of mathematics, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. High school students may prepare by taking courses in algebra, geometry and trigonometry. Reading and writing skills are essential for this position, so candidates should also study English, grammar and composition during high school.
Prior knowledge of electricity is typically not a requirement for entry-level low-voltage cable technicians, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, but postsecondary training and education may provide candidates with an advantage at hiring time. Candidates may pursue coursework in low-voltage electronic systems technology through a vocational school or technical institute. Training from these sources rarely requires more than one year to complete. Certain community colleges offer two-year associate degree programs that include low-voltage electronics as a part of their curriculum. Candidates may gain valuable training for this career in the military.
On the Job
The bulk of a low-voltage cable technician's training is conducted on the job through employer-sponsored training programs. Technicians may enroll in a formal apprenticeship program, which takes approximately five years to complete. On-the-job training typically pairs the trainee with a seasoned technician, where he learns the trade by performing the work. Safety issues are emphasized. Candidates who complete an employer-sponsored training program or formal apprenticeship program must be licensed by the state. Licensure requirements may vary from state to state.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates little growth in new job opportunities for low-voltage cable technicians between 2008 and 2018, but the bureau notes that retirement of existing workers will create a steady need for new technicians. Low-voltage cable technicians may belong to a labor union such as the Communications Workers of America, the Utility Workers Union of America, or the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. Union worker wages and rates are set by the covering union. The mean annual wages for low-voltage cable technicians was $50,080 as of May 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.